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Quirky Facts about the U.S. Presidents

Updated on October 8, 2012
George Washington
George Washington
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
John Tyler
John Tyler
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson

Presidents are often remembered for their policies, speeches, and events that occurred while they were in office. But the presidents are as human as anyone. Many of them have amusing quirks or odd life experiences. Entire books have been written on this subject, but here’s a small sample.

-George Washington had numerous sets of dentures, including a pair made out of hippopotamus bone. He never had wooden teeth though, that is just a myth.

-Thomas Jefferson had a very populist, “common man” view of the presidency. He thought that his predecessors had acted too much like royalty and wanted to remove any pretentions from the office. He would horrify foreign dignitaries by greeting them in his pajamas.

-James Monroe was the last president who was part of the Revolutionary War era. He still liked to dress in late 18th century attire when he was president from 1817 to 1825. Many people found this bizarre. It would be like Barack Obama wearing a 1970’s afro.

-John Quincy Adams enjoyed skinny-dipping in the Potomac.

-John Tyler had 19 children by two different wives. After his first wife died, he married a 24 year old woman named Julia Tyler (nee Gardner) who was younger than his eldest daughter. Not surprisingly, relations between Tyler and his daughters were strained after that. Also, Tyler’s own son had previously dated Julia. Awkward.

-James K Polk hated shaking hands.

-James Buchanan was the only president who was a lifelong bachelor.

-Andrew Johnson was the first president to be impeached. He came within one vote of being removed from office.

-Ulysses S Grant was extremely squeamish about blood. That’s right – one of the most famous war generals in American history had a weak stomach.

-Rutherford Hayes and his wife Lucy hated alcohol so much that they banned all types of alcoholic beverages from the White House. They horrified visiting foreign dignitaries by serving them water. The first lady was named “Lemonade Lucy”.

-Chester An arthur loved to dress up in fancy clothes and throw parties. He was criticized for being lazy, but secretly had Bright’s Disease, which causes its sufferers to feel very lethargic.

-Benjamin Harrison was one of many presidents with a taste for younger women. His second wife was the niece of his first wife and twenty-five years younger than Harrison. His son and daughter were horrified and refused to attend the wedding. Harrison got revenge by cutting them out of his will.

-William McKinley’s wife had frequent seizures. She probably suffered from what we call epilepsy today. McKinley would sometimes hide her face with his handkerchief in an attempt to save her from embarrassment.

-William Howard Taft was so large that he became stuck in the White House bathtub.

-Warren G. Harding loved to drink whiskey, even though he was president during Prohibition. He hypocritically supported the 18th amendment banning the sale of alcohol.

-Calvin Coolidge was notoriously quiet. A woman once approached him and said that she had made a bet that she could get him to say more than two words. Coolidge replied, “You lose.”

-Herbert Hoover wanted the White House staff to be invisible. The cooks, servants, etc. were told to hide when Hoover was nearby. If he saw them, they could be fired.

-Harry Truman was notoriously hot-tempered. He once sent hate mail to a music critic who had bashed his daughter (a wannabe singer) in a column.

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    • nanderson500 profile image
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      nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      They certainly do! Thanks for commenting!

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 5 years ago from California, United States of America

      Very interesting, they also had their idiosyncrasies as most people do.

    • nanderson500 profile image
      Author

      nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Yep, even presidents can be very eccentric people! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      Wow, these are interesting, and so funny. People certainly do have their quirks.

    • nanderson500 profile image
      Author

      nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Thanks glad you enjoyed it!

    • joespivey profile image

      Joe Spivey 5 years ago

      I wonder what traits of current presidents people will find weird in 100 years time? Very interesting hub!

    • nanderson500 profile image
      Author

      nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Yeah, he really is quite amusing! He was also a Supreme Court Justice. He was considered a much better judge and a president.

    • profile image

      Mallory 5 years ago

      I love Taft stories :)

    • Wendell Patterson profile image

      Wendell Patterson 5 years ago from Alabama

      That was quite interesting and funny

    • nanderson500 profile image
      Author

      nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Ha ha that is a good one too!

    • Nick Hanlon profile image

      Nick Hanlon 5 years ago from Chiang Mai

      Coolidge also loved to ring the bell at his desk and then hide under it.He was inspecting the beams of the White House with some staff that still showed the effects of the 1812 war.Someone asked what should be done about it.He said ''Send the bill to the King of England''.

    • nanderson500 profile image
      Author

      nanderson500 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Thanks! I try to find obscure stuff that will surprise people.

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 5 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Very Interesting!!! I was completely unaware of almost everything in this Hub!!! Awesome Job!!!

    • Emayordomo profile image

      Emayordomo 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      Very interesting hub! Voted Up and interesting!